Public opinion theory and research are becoming increasingly significant in modern societies as people's attitudes and behaviors become ever more volatile and opinion poll data becomes ever more readily available. This major new Handbook is the first to bring together into one volume the whole field of public opinion theory, research methodology, and the political and social embeddedness of polls in modern societies. It comprehensively maps out the state-of-the-art in contemporary scholarship on these topics.

With over fifty chapters written by distinguished international researchers, both academic and from the commercial sector, this Handbook is designed to:

Give the reader an overview of the most important concepts included in and surrounding the term ‘public opinion’ and its application in modern social research; Present the basic empirical concepts for assessing public opinion and opinion changes in society; Provide an overview of the social, political and legal status of public opinion research, how it is perceived by the public and by journalists, and how it is used by governments; Offer a review of the role and use of surveys for selected special fields of application, ranging from their use in legal cases to the use of polls in marketing and campaigns.

The SAGE Handbook of Public Opinion Research provides an indispensable resource for both practitioners and students alike.

The Legal Status of Public Opinion Research in the World

WolfgangDonsbach andUweHartung

The freedom to conduct opinion surveys among the people and to publish the results is derived from international or national legal provisions granting rights to people. Restrictions of this freedom, if grounded in law at all, can be found in national laws, such as those on due electoral processes. The liberties from which this freedom is derived include the freedom of speech and expression, the freedom to hold and voice opinions and inform oneself, the freedom of scientific endeavor, and the freedom to conduct businesses. Internationally, these liberties are guaranteed in such bills as the United Nation's Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Declaration of Principles of the UN's World Summit on the Information ...

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